Now it’s ongoing, rather than a pop-up, Upstairs at the Ten Bells is, for our money, even more fun. There’s less of a feeling of desperation and precarity when you book, for one thing – though weekend tables do still get booked up in a flash.

Their gnocchi recipe (Giorgio is Italian-speaking Swiss) is elegant and accomplished, but not too tricky to make at home. It is both utterly traditional, cooked in every region of Italy for centuries, and very Ten Bells, with its balanced, delicate flavours and seasonal British ingredients such as Cornish samphire, and Scotttish girolles and dulse.

‘Choosing the right potatoes is key,’ says Giorgio. ‘They have to be floury, not starchy, or the dough gets too sticky. I’m using Chippers Choice [Maris Piper], which are excellent for mash and baking, too.’ It’s also crucial, he explains, to act while the potatoes are hot from the oven. ‘Test them with a small knife, then cut them in half and pass them through a sieve, discarding the skins. Or you can use a Mouli.’ When you come to work the dough, treat it a little like bread dough, though take care not to overwork it or the starches will become gluey. You just want a nice even mixture.

If you can’t find baby leeks, use the sweetest part of normal leeks. You can substitute trompettes de mort or chanterelles if you see them, or try a variation with squid or prawns. Giorgio suggests a dry, fruity white wine to drink with this dish: a Riesling or a Pouilly-Fumé.

Potato gnocchi with samphire, girolles and baby leeks

You’ll need (to serve four)
For the dough:

  • 600g warm baked potato, sieved (around 12–14 medium Chippers Choice)
  • 40g egg yolk
  • 90g plain flour
  • 10g salt

Seaweed butter:

  • 150g soft unsalted butter
  • 20g chopped wakame
  • 20g chopped sea lettuce

Sautéed girolles:

  • 150g girolle mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • 10g vegetable oil
  • Splash of cabernet sauvignon vinegar
  • Splash of walnut oil (optional)
  • 80g samphire
  • 4 baby leeks
  • 1

    Bake the potatoes.

  • 2

    Remove the potato from the skins and sieve.

  • 3

    Make your dough, combining flour, egg yolk, salt and sieved potato.

  • 4

    Form into a long sausage.

  • 5

    Cut into little pillows. You can freeze the gnocchi at this point, but the dish is really best made absolutely fresh.

  • 6

    Fry the shallots in oil with thyme and garlic, adding a little butter if you like, until soft but not browned.

  • 7

    Now cook the gnocchi. Get the water boiling, then simmer your dumplings until they rise to the surface, which should take a few minutes. Strain them.

  • 8

    Finish the mushrooms by adding some cabernet sauvignon vinegar (or sherry vinegar) and, if you like, a splash of walnut oil.

  • 9

    Blanch and griddle the leeks, blackening them a little.

  • 10

    Prepare the seaweed butter by incorporating chopped seaweed into room temperature saltless butter, then melt it in a frying pan and use it to warm the samphire.

  • 11

    Then add the leek and the gnocchi and mix gently.

  • 12

    To plate up, start with the gnocchi, then cover them with the samphire, leeks and girolles. In the restaurant, Giorgio adds raw dulse, shredded and seasoned with olive oil and vinegar, and some wakame dust, but these are optional, unless you happen to live near an Asian supermarket by the seaside.


Upstairs at the Ten Bells, 84 Commercial Street, London E1 6LY (020 7366 1721; tenbells.com)
@upstairs_at

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